Genex executes connection agreement with Essential Energy for the 50MW Jemalong Solar Project

15 April

Genex Power Limited (ASX: GNX) (Genex or Company) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a binding connection agreement with Essential Energy, responsible for one of Australia’s largest electricity distribution networks, for the 50MW Jemalong Solar Project (JSP or Project) in New South Wales.

The connection agreement, which was entered into by Genex’s wholly-owned subsidiary Jemalong Networks Pty Ltd as trustee for Jemalong Networks Trust, allows for the connection of the Project into the National Electricity Market (NEM) via Essential Energy’s distribution network. The connection point will be located at the existing West Jemalong 66/11kV Zone Substation, situated within close proximity to the Project site, minimising construction cost and time.

The execution of the agreement means the Project is now classified as a committed generator, with its position secured within the NEM. Being confirmed as a ‘committed generator’ enables the Company to now focus its attention on remaining activities, including: advancing engineering, procurement and construction, contractor discussions and completing the refinance of the 50MW Kidston Solar Project (KS1) and project financing for JSP by mid-2019.

Commenting on the milestone, Chief Executive Officer of Genex, James Harding stated: “We are very pleased to execute the connection agreement with Essential Energy for the Jemalong Solar Project and secure our Project within the NEM as a committed generator. In a short amount of time, we have already established an excellent relationship with Essential Energy and look forward to working together over the coming weeks and months.

We are also pleased to report that the refinancing activities of KS1 and project financing activities for JSP continue to advance as scheduled. Genex remains on track to reach financial close for both of these projects by the middle of the year, establishing our position as a key renewable energy developer in the NEM as we continue to expand our portfolio.”

Source: Genex Power

 

PROJECT NEWS

Yatpool Solar Farm

Developer BayWa r.e. applied for a licence to generate and sell electricity from its Yatpool Solar Farm located approximately 20km south-west of Mildura, Victoria. The 106.4 MW DC/81 MW AC solar farm features 327,613 Astronergy polycrystalline modules, 36 central SMA inverters, Nextracker’s single axis solar tracking system and one 100MVA transformer. Beon is the EPC contractor, while BayWa r.e. intends to oversee the Operations and Maintenance of the project for the next 10 years.

 

Solar Pile International contracted for the 333 MW Darlington Point Solar Farm

The Solar Pile International (SPI) team is proud to announce our appointment to supply the total piling needs of the 333 MW Darlington Point Solar Farm project in NSW, Australia.

SPI have once again partnered with global EPC, Signal Energy, to provide 117,500 piles for supporting and managing the applied loads of single axis solar trackers.

The project covers 975 hectares and is located approximately 10 km south of the town of Darlington Point in Western NSW. The Solar Farm will produce enough electricity to power over 115,000 homes throughout NSW and will employ approximately 300 personnel during construction.

We are excited to work further with major solar utilities EPC, Signal Energy and we once again look forward to contributing towards a cleaner world for all.

Our recyclable piling technologies are determined and tuned to the specific needs of a given solar farm site to ensure optimum performance and minimal site disturbance at a cost that adds value.

Source: Solar Pile International

 

AGL secures right to develop pumped hydro energy storage project in South Australia

16 April

AGL today announced it had secured the right to develop, own and operate a 250-megawatt pumped hydro energy storage project at Hillgrove Resources Limited’s Kanmantoo copper mine in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills region.

AGL’s Executive General Manager of Wholesale Markets, Richard Wrightson, said: “This is an exciting project, which is consistent with our plans to continue to invest in our core energy markets business as customer needs and technologies evolve.

“If we proceed and the project is approved, it would be an important addition to our technology mix in South Australia, where we have significant wind and thermal generation. It would help us to meet the changing needs of the South Australian energy market, in which energy storage assets are likely to be needed to provide dispatchable capacity as renewables generation increases over coming years.”

Mr Wrightson said the signing of binding agreements was the start of a multiple stage process to progress the project, including the lodgement of a development application in 2020. AGL would buy the land required for the project from Hillgrove shortly after a final investment decision, which is expected to be made after the completion of processing at Kanmantoo.

“If all approvals are received, we expect the project to be complete and operating by 2024,” Mr Wrightson said.

Source: AGL Energy

 

Hillgrove sells the rights to develop a Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) project to AGL

16 April

Hillgrove Resources Limited (ASX: HGO) (Hillgrove) wishes to announce it has completed the competitive process to seek proposals from the private sector to develop, own and operate a Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) project at its Kanmantoo mine site.

As a result of this process Hillgrove is pleased to announce it has entered into binding agreements to sell the right to develop, own and operate the PHES project to AGL Energy Limited (ABN 74 115 061 375) (AGL) for $31 million.

Key Transaction Terms

The $31 million will be payable over an estimated 18-36 month period with staged payments based on the achievement of the following PHES project milestones:

- $1 million on signing of the project agreements,

- $4 million on the completion of a number of conditions precedent including:

- Confirmation by a limited drilling programme of the stability of the ground at the proposed location of the PHES vertical shaft,

- Execution of an early works agreement between AGL and HGO under which HGO performs various scopes of early works and services for the PHES project on a fee for service basis.

- The preparation of an initial baseline study to determine any contamination on the land to be used for the PHES project.

- AGL being satisfied that there is no material contamination on the project site, and

- AGL being satisfied with HGO's relinquishment plan dealing with mine closure and rehabilitation of the project site.

Satisfaction of the conditions precedent is expected within 6 months.

- $5 million once AGL has acquired any and all necessary water supply and transportation arrangements, approvals and licences,

- $10 million on later of AGL obtaining development approval and an offer of a connection agreement to the grid for the project,

- $11 million on the Final Investment Decision (FID) by AGL

The entire $31 million is payable in the event AGL elects to buy-out the PHES project, including freehold title in the land required for the PHES project.

AGL can withdraw at any time prior to payment of the final payment milestone, in which case it will not be required to make payments in respect of unsatisfied milestones but will forfeit milestone payments already made to that point in time.

AGL is required to lodge a development approval application within 12 months of satisfaction of the conditions precedent and reach FID within 12 months after the later of AGL obtaining development approval and an offer of a connection agreement to the grid for the project. Hillgrove can take back the PHES project if these milestones are not achieved, subject to (1) extensions for events outside AGL’s control and (2) AGL electing to pay a monthly extension fee of $100,000 per month (up to a maximum of 6 months) for either milestone.

Hillgrove will be separately contracted by AGL under the early works agreement to provide services during the development of the PHES Project including assistance in negotiating water supply arrangements and managing the first fill of the ponds.

AGL will utilise the Giant Pit as the lower pond for the PHES and the upper pond will be located on land Hillgrove owns and/or will acquire under an option agreement with a neighbouring landholder. Hillgrove has agreed to subdivide the land required for the PHES and sell this land to AGL on a freehold basis.

Hillgrove will retain its remaining freehold land, the Kanmantoo processing plant area, the administration area and the tailings dam (TSF), enabling the processing of ore from any future exploration discoveries.

The freehold land sale, (which will occur following FID), is likely to take place after the completion of current processing at Kanmantoo, estimated to the second half of 2020.

Hillgrove will remain responsible for the environmental and closure liabilities associated with the mining activities at the Kanmantoo copper mine.

The PHES Project

The PHES project is expected to have generating capacity of 250 MW and 8 hours of storage, making it the largest storage capacity in South Australia.

The South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan said:

“This is an exciting pumped hydro project which aligns with the Marshall Government’s policy of matching storage capacity with renewable energy resources to deliver cheaper, more reliable and cleaner electricity for South Australian households and businesses.

I congratulate Hillgrove Resources and AGL for their agreement, and look forward to the project developing in coming months and years.”

In 2017 Hillgrove commenced investigating the merits of a PHES project at the Kanmantoo site. The rationale for the project was then and remains:

- The fundamental changes occurring in the National Electricity Market (“NEM”), including the withdrawal of coal fired generation, significant increases in gas costs impacting the cost of gasfired generation and the significant increases in the development of intermittent renewable generation, both wind and solar. Further, that these issues were being particularly seen in South Australia.

- Therefore, cost effective storage was required in the NEM and in South Australia to deal with volatility in electricity prices and the reliability of supply.

- The Giant Pit could be used as the lower pond for a PHES and there were highly cost-effective options for the upper pond.

- The site, in proximity to the Adelaide load, was connected to electricity infrastructure and had water supply agreements with water delivered through dedicated pipelines.

Steven McClare, Managing Director Hillgrove, said; “we are delighted to work with AGL on the delivery of this project which will transform a former mining site into one of the lowest cost electricity storage projects in Australia, at a time when synchronous generation and bulk storage is critically needed.

Although the progression of the PHES will prevent long term mining of the portion of the underground exploration target directly beneath the existing pit, the Board determined the AGL PHES offer represented a lower risk and higher value proposition to shareholders.”

Hillgrove was advised on this project by Key Pacific Advisory Partners and Minter Ellison.

Source: Hillgrove Resources

 

Palisade’s Renewable Energy Fund secures $160 million debt facility for Hallett Wind Farm

17 April

Palisade Investment Partners (Palisade) is pleased to announce the successful refinancing of a new $160 million, 13.75 year debt facility for Hallett 1 Wind Farm (Hallett).

Hallett’s new long-dated debt facility has been underwritten by the National Australia Bank (NAB) and will be syndicated to institutional investors in the Japanese life insurance market.

The refinancing has achieved highly attractive pricing and terms, reflecting the strong credit position of Hallett and the underlying strength of Palisade as a long-term sponsor.

Palisade CEO Roger Lloyd said: “The refinancing of Hallett represents another major achievement for Palisade’s renewable energy portfolio following the successful long-dated financing of Waterloo Wind Farm in late 2018.

Hallett now has a permanent financing solution that removes future refinance risk from the business. Combined with its fixed cash flow profile under the AGL off-take structure, Hallett’s investors have clear visibility over their long-term investment returns”.

Connie Sokaris – General Manager, Client Coverage said “NAB is delighted to bring together its structured finance and distribution capabilities to deliver Palisade and its investors a compelling solution”.

Hallett’s refinancing has been executed in accordance with Palisade’s broader treasury risk management framework, which seeks to manage refinancing risk by targeting diversity of funding tenor and source across the portfolio, enhancing risk adjusted returns to investors.

Mr Lloyd said: “We are continuing to observe attractive long-term debt pricing due to strong liquidity in long-dated financing structures and historically low long-term base rates.

Palisade continues to assess long-term financing structures for the assets we manage while market conditions remain attractive”.

Palisade’s Renewable Energy Fund (PREF), which owns a 49% interest in Hallett, is now over $300 million in FUM and commitments, including a $75 million cornerstone commitment from the Australian Government-backed Clean Energy Finance Corporation. In addition to Hallett, PREF also has interests in Waterloo Wind Farm, Ross River Solar Farm and Granville Harbour Wind Farm, which is due for construction completion early 2020.

PREF, which is currently open to new commitments from institutional investors, generated a total return since inception to 31 March 2019 of 15.2% per annum, including a cash yield of 7.3% per annum.

Source: Palisade Investment Partners

 

NEW PROJECTS

Raywood Solar Farm

Location: Raywood, Victoria

LGA: Loddon Shire

Capacity: 200 MW

Developer: South Energy

Estimated cost: $300mil

Description: The project covers about 360 hectares of land and is expected to generate enough clean power for approximately 71,500 households reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 421,000 tonnes per year. The project is envisaged to commence construction in late 2019 and be fully operational in late 2020."

 

Goorambat Solar Farm        

Location: Goorambat, Victoria

Capacity: 75 MW

Developer: South Energy

Estimated cost: $120mil

Battery: Yes

Description: Covering approximately 130 hectares of farmland located within a short distance to the main township of Goorambat. The project is expected to generate enough clean power for approximately 24,300 households reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 143,000 tonnes per year. The project is expected to commence construction in late 2019 and be fully operational in 2020.

Contact: Steve Nguyen

Acquisition Manager

South Energy

Tel: (03) 8842 6888   

Email: steve.nguyen@southenergy.com.au

 

March Large-scale Renewable Energy Target market data now available

16 April

The Clean Energy Regulator has released the March 2019 Large-scale Renewable Energy Target market data.

March highlights

- 29 power stations were accredited in March with a combined capacity of 15 megawatts.

- All 29 power stations accredited in March are mid-scale solar PV systems between 100 kilowatts and five megawatts.

- The largest power station accredited in March was the 1.7 megawatt solar PV system on Colonnades Shopping Centre in South Australia.

- The 157 megawatt Mortlake South Wind Farm in Victoria reached financial close in March. The total capacity of committed projects is now 5523 megawatts.

- The 150 megawatt Aurora Solar Energy Project was removed from the pipeline when it was confirmed that the project would not go ahead after failing to secure commercial financing.

Source: Clean Energy Regulator

 

Emergency reserves critical to managing a power system in transition

16 April

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has published an event report on the load shedding events that occurred during concurrent heatwaves in South Australia and Victoria in January 2019.

AEMO has today published an event report on the load shedding events that occurred during concurrent heatwaves in South Australia and Victoria on Thursday 24 January 2019 and in Victoria on Friday 25 January 2019. The report also covers the activation of contracted reserves in Victoria and South Australia under the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) mechanism, which minimised the amount of customer disruption needed to balance the national electricity system.

Prior to summer 2018/19, AEMO identified a heightened risk of involuntary load shedding in Victoria and South Australia should the power system experience an extreme weather day coinciding with significantly reduced availability of market generation. AEMO worked diligently to establish a pool of potential RERT providers under the Market Rules that could offer reserves on various notice periods, and secured all resources offered in Victoria and South Australia that met the required cost, technical and verification criteria.

Victoria and South Australia experienced record-breaking temperatures on 24 and 25 January, coinciding with the loss of up to 1,600 megawatts (MW) of available thermal generation resources. Despite AEMO activating available RERT resources on both days, load shedding was required to manage system security, notably impacting more than 200,000 Victorian consumers across two hours on 25 January.

AEMO’s analysis found that more than double the amount of Victorian consumers may have been impacted without the activation of RERT, with this important reserve mechanism also mitigating the risk of loss of supply to South Australian consumers.

The cost of RERT services activated for summer 2018/19 equated to about $10,000/MWh (megawatt hours), which is below the $14,500/MWh electricity trading market price cap. Without activation of the RERT, AEMO estimates a further 1,252 MWh of load would have been required to be shed. Applying the 2019 Value of Customer Reliability* of $41,534 per MWh, the cost of the load shedding avoided by using RERT is estimated at $52 million.

The RERT costs for the 2018/19 year represent an amount per average residential consumer of around $3.20 in Victoria, and $0.80 in South Australia, based on standard energy tariffs and usage of a typical energy customer in 2018. Using average commercial and industrial energy usage rates for the 2018 calendar year, the cost of RERT would equate to an annual approximation of $0.79 per MWh in Victoria and $0.16 per MWh in South Australia. AEMO does not decide and is not involved in how retailers recover these costs from their customers.

Source: AEMO

 

Creditors vote for Carnegie recapitalisation proposal

17 April

Creditors of Carnegie Clean Energy Limited have today unanimously accepted a restructuring plan to save the company and relist on the Australian Securities Exchange.

The plan was put to a meeting of creditors today by KordaMentha Restructuring partners Richard Tucker and John Bumbak, who were appointed Voluntary Administrators of Carnegie and a number of its subsidiaries on 14 March 2019.

The plan, outlined in a Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA), provides for a recapitalisation of the company, a restructure of its balance sheet and a relisting over the next 3 to 4 months. The target for capital raising is up to $5 million.

Major shareholders and directors who advanced cash to keep the company going before and after administration will swap debt for equity, with some debt being restructured and carried over to the relisted company. Unsecured creditors can expect a return of up to 10 cents in the dollar.

Mr Tucker said: “This is a significant step for Carnegie as it strives to emerge from Voluntary Administration in a well-capitalised financial position, to continue its core business of transforming the global renewable energy market through its world leading wave energy technology”.

Further updates will be provided during the process. Creditors should watch www.kordamentha.com for more information and the KordaMentha report to creditors presented at today’s meeting.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

 

Spark Infrastructure acquires Bomen Solar Farm in NSW

17 April

Highlights:

▪ Acquisition of 100% of Bomen Solar Farm – to be constructed near Wagga Wagga, NSW

▪ Logical and prudent first step in delivering our Value Build strategy – providing access to growth opportunities in renewables and creation of a renewable energy platform

▪ High-quality, shovel-ready project – 120MWDC/100MWAC solar farm in a strong grid location

▪ Highly contracted revenue – ~95% contracted for the first five years and ~82% contracted for the first 10 years; including 10-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Westpac and 5-year, 7-year and 10-year PPAs with Flow Power

▪ Construction and Operation – fixed price EPC contract with Beon Energy Solutions (Victoria Power Networks)

▪ Grid Connection – BOOM services for connection to the transmission network for a 30-year term provided by TransGrid

▪ Secure and flexible financing – construction funded through a combination of cash, existing corporate debt and equity. Prudent capital structure to be maintained post-construction, with investment grade credit rating expected to be maintained

▪ Value and yield accretive – attractive risk-adjusted returns delivering value creation to Securityholders

Spark Infrastructure announces that it has acquired a 100% interest in the 120MWDC/100MWAC Bomen Solar Farm (“Bomen”) from Renew Estate.

Bomen is strategically located in a strong grid location, 10 kilometres north-east of Wagga Wagga in NSW close to TransGrid’s Wagga North substation where it will connect into TransGrid’s transmission network.

Construction is scheduled to commence in Q2 2019 with a total cost at completion expected of approximately $188 million1. Commercial operations are expected to commence in Q2 2020.

Strong alignment with investment strategy consistent with Spark Infrastructure’s existing risk and return profile producing attractive and accretive returns2.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Rick Francis, said: “This is an exciting first step in delivering our Value Build strategy. It is evidence of our commitment to invest in Australia’s renewable energy future through 100% ownership of contracted renewable generation, and adds to our commitment to renewables through our existing electricity transmission and distribution businesses. Bomen has highly contracted cash flows and attractive risk-adjusted returns which will exceed current regulatory returns. Whilst modest, it is a logical and prudent first step in diversifying our exposure to regulated assets and accesses growth in adjacent essential service infrastructure in line with our investment strategy.”

Highly contracted revenue profile providing stable and predictable cash flows

Bomen has long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) in place with high-quality counterparties providing stable and predictable cash flows for up to 10 years. On commencement of commercial operations, the plant will sell power and Large-Scale Renewable Generation Certificates (LGCs) under PPAs with Westpac for 10 years and with Flow Power for a range of contract tenures of 5, 7 and 10 years.

This provides a strong and stable revenue stream which is ~95% contracted for the first five years and ~82% contracted for the first 10 years. When operating, Bomen is expected to generate average annual revenue of approximately $13.5 million for the first five years3.

Partnering with Beon for construction

Beon Energy Solutions (Beon), owned by Victoria Power Networks (in which Spark Infrastructure has an ownership interest of 49%), has been appointed as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor. Bomen will connect into TransGrid’s high-voltage transmission network providing access to the National Electricity Market, with build, own, operate and maintain (BOOM) services for the grid connection provided by TransGrid (in which Spark Infrastructure has an ownership interest of 15%) for a 30-year term.

Secure and flexible financing; prudent capital structure to be maintained post-construction

Acquisition and construction costs are expected to be initially funded from cash and existing debt facilities, with a view to maintaining a prudent capital structure post-construction, with target bank debt funding for Bomen of 65-70%. Equity funding is expected to be met through reactivating the Distribution Reinvestment Plan (DRP) during the construction phase of the project. There is no change to FY2019 distribution guidance of at least 15.0 cents per Security, as a result of the acquisition or the 12-month construction phase of Bomen, subject to business conditions.

A first step in building a platform for further diversification and growth

Mr Rick Francis said: “The project is our first step towards our goal of building a business platform in adjacent essential service infrastructure focused on renewable energy.

“We are delighted to be working with Westpac and Flow Power, and alongside our businesses, Beon and TransGrid to deliver the next piece of Australia’s future energy infrastructure. We are also proud to be creating local jobs during Bomen’s construction and to be partnering with Westpac in supporting the local community through education scholarships as well as youth, recreation and biodiversity programs,” Mr Francis added.

1 Includes purchase of land, construction costs, construction of dedicated transmission line and capitalised interest during construction.

2 Based on target debt funding on completion/commencement of commercial operations.

3 Average annual revenue taking into account PPA agreements, loss factors and plant output based on P50 forecasts

Source: Spark Infrastructure

 

Westpac has signed a power purchase agreement with the proposed Bomen Solar Farm in NSW

17 April

Westpac has pledged to source 100 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, joining a growing band of big businesses moving away from traditional power sources amid the global push to a lower carbon economy.

Under a power purchase agreement (PPA) unveiled today with Bomen Solar Farm – due to be operational in the second half of 2020 on 250 hectares near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales – the bank will source 63 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity annually to power its operations globally.

“One of the most exciting things about the PPA is that we’re effectively underwriting the development of a new solar energy facility,” says Ms Ceri Binding, head of energy and utilities in Westpac’s property team. “It will create incremental renewable energy capacity, generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 36,000 homes, and employment opportunities in the local area.”

In simple terms, the PPA will see Westpac pay Bomen Solar Farm for an amount of renewable energy it will put into the grid, and the equivalent amount consumed by the bank will be recognised as having zero emissions.

Ms Binding says the PPA would deliver 45 per cent of the bank’s 100 per cent clean energy target by 2021 and a range of options including rooftop solar installations on its larger buildings and further supply agreements would be assessed to hit the 2025 target.

Aside from its environmental benefits, Ms Binding said the PPA would deliver “greater cost certainty for the bank’s NSW electricity cost base”, although she didn’t disclose the contract price.

“It is economically the right thing for Westpac to do,” she says, noting that the current cost of renewable electricity is less than the current wholesale price of electricity.

Against a background of sharply rising electricity prices, particularly since the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power plant in Victoria in 2017, corporate Australia’s desire for more certainty and lower energy prices has contributed to a sudden spurt in the corporate PPA market. Since taking off in 2016, almost 30 PPAs have been signed – including those by Telstra and BlueScope – supporting solar and wind projects with a combined capacity of nearly 3600MW, according to carbon management consultancy Energetics.

These have contributed to the recent surge in clean energy projects, despite ongoing commentary about the years of energy policy uncertainty that flared up again last year with the collapse of the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee.

Ahead of a Federal Election where energy policy and emissions targets are again a key issue, the Reserve Bank last month noted the dramatic shift in the renewables market in the past decade as “private actors” respond to market forces, labelling wind and solar “cost effective sources of generation” following the “rapid decline” in the cost of renewables.

“(This is) in part because of extensive spending on research and development in renewable energy technology around the world occurring both because of government policies and private actors anticipating the transition to a lower carbon economy,” RBA Deputy Governor Guy Debelle noted in a speech that marked the Bank’s first ever extensive commentary on climate change.

“As a result of the price decline, the investment cost-benefit analysis has changed and continues to change quite rapidly.”

According to the Clean Energy Council, more than $20 billion was committed to around 80 large scale wind and solar projects in 2018, double the value of the previous year, and one in five Australians now have roof-top solar. It says this lifted renewables generation to 21 per cent of Australia’s total power pool last year.

The proportion of renewables is likely to grow over the coming decades as more of the nation’s aging coal-fired power facilities like AGL’s Liddell plant in NSW are closed and, “right now, the cheapest thing to replace them with are renewables”, says Westpac institutional bank’s industry analyst Wayne Gagel.

While this transition has significant implications for the nation’s aging transmission system which was largely designed to cater for coal, Mr Gagel says the emergence of the PPA market reflects a broader evolution underway in the retail energy market.

“What we are seeing is some new specialist retailers coming in, creating new business models where they will contract with renewable energy providers and then pass that, plus the firming element, through to businesses … to essentially make the benefits more accessible to smaller scale businesses,” Mr Gagel says.

While PPAs like Westpac’s make sense for large energy users, Mr Gagel says not every business is going to go down that route as they can be complex to negotiate.

“Because we are going through change (in the energy market), the signal that screams the loudest first is always price… (and that’s) what is happening in the PPA market. Businesses are seeing the price, they're reacting to the price and then other people are … solving that price problem for them,” he says.

Westpac’s declaration to become 100 per cent renewable sees the bank join 171 other companies globally to have signed up to RE100 – a global initiative launched in 2014 by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP to bring together businesses that have made the same public commitment. Other Australian members include Atlassian, Bank Australia and Commonwealth Bank.

The global head of RE100 Sam Kimmins says the growing number of Australian companies joining RE100 sends a powerful signal that businesses want an energy system fit to support a clean economy.

“By setting a 100 per cent renewable electricity target, companies leave no room for doubt,” he says. “They’re committed to accelerate the clean energy transition. This is not just because it’s ‘the right thing to do’ – but because the business case is already there. What businesses now need is long-term policy certainty that enables impactful renewable sourcing strategies.”

The Bomen Solar Farm project, to be operated by listed utilities player Spark Infrastructure, will feature high-efficiency photovoltaic modules expected to produce more than 240 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy each year – or enough to power the equivalent of all the homes in the local Wagga Wagga region. Westpac marks the project’s second PPA, having signed up with FlowPower in December.

Ms Binding says the bank chose the Bomen Solar Farm project and partnership with Spark Infrastructure as it ticked boxes not only in regards electricity supply, but also social outcomes for the local Wagga Wagga community, including a community fund to develop student scholarships, youth facilities and vegetation and habitat regeneration.

Source: Westpac

 

Bomen Solar Farm acquired by Spark Infrastructure and signs PPA with Westpac

17 April

Renew Estate today announces two key milestones have been reached for the 120 megawatt (DC) Bomen Solar Farm project located near Wagga Wagga, NSW.

- Spark Infrastructure acquires 100% of Bomen Solar Farm and the construction contract awarded to Beon Energy Solutions

- Bomen Solar Farm signs a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Westpac.

Bomen Solar Farm has been acquired from Renew Estate by Spark Infrastructure, an ASX top 100 listed company and leading owner of electricity network infrastructure in Australia. The project will be constructed by Beon Energy Solutions, a leader in the deployment of largescale renewable energy and infrastructure projects, with extensive expertise in design, construction and commissioning.

Under the PPA, Westpac has committed to purchase just over a quarter of the solar farm’s output under a 10-year agreement. The supply agreement is the first step in assisting Westpac reach its commitment to source the equivalent of 100 per cent of its global electricity consumption through renewable sources by 2025. Spark Infrastructure and Westpac are partnering to provide a comprehensive community benefit package which includes $1m in support over the term of the contract for STEM scholarships, youth facilities, local biodiversity and vegetation regeneration projects.

Additionally, Bomen Solar Farm has an off-take arrangement in place with Flow Power, a leading business energy retailer in Australia, to purchase a portion of the power that will be generated by Bomen Solar Farm for up to 10 years. This will enable Flow Power to deliver low-cost, reliable sustainable energy to Australian business customers.

The Member for Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, congratulated Renew Estate on reaching the financial close milestone.

“It’s fantastic to see Wagga Wagga, and indeed the Riverina, selected as the site for this exciting renewable energy venture.”

“It’s a great example of confidence in the region and will be a shot in the arm for the local economy, creating some 250 jobs during peak construction and providing for $1 million in community benefits over a decade, including STEM scholarships and environmental projects.

“And it demonstrates yet again that regional Australia is at the leading edge of technology and capable of hosting big projects which have state-wide and national benefits.”

At full capacity Bomen Solar Farm will add in excess of 200GWh (gigawatt hours) of clean energy into the national electricity grid with commercial operations expected to commence from Q2 2020.

Simon Currie, a Director of Renew Estate commented “It is very exciting that the Bomen Solar Farm has been chosen by Westpac for its first renewable energy PPA. Spark Infrastructure’s acquisition coupled with Westpac’s offtake enables us to deliver on our vision of developing the next generation of renewable energy projects in Australia. We are extremely proud of this project and are looking forward to seeing construction start on site.”

“Our vision has always been that Bomen Solar Farm should create a positive local legacy and deliver tangible economic benefits; we are delighted that Spark Infrastructure and Westpac are fully on board with this vision and share our values.“

Mark Hogan Managing Director of WIRSOL Energy, a major Shareholder of Renew Estate, said: “We are delighted to see Renew Estate reach two significant milestones for Bomen Solar Farm which will see the project deliver affordable solar energy to a number of iconic Australian businesses and homes throughout New South Wales. This project contributes to the ongoing development of Australia’s critical energy infrastructure and we are proud to be collaborating with companies such as Spark Infrastructure, Westpac and Flow Power that are aligned with our clean energy mission.”

Source: Renew Estate

 

Final delivery to the 175 MW Finley Solar Farm project

17 April

Solar Pile International is proud to announce that delivery of 63,715 W-Series, H-Beam piles for the 175 MW Finley Solar Farm has successfully been completed five days ahead of schedule. A total of 122 truck loads of piles were manufactured, shipped, and delivered on site between October, 2018 and April, 2019.

All piles are de-containerised at port, checked, loaded, and repacked onto flatbed trucks for easy unloading on site. Packs are colour coded for clear and safe identification to ensure the right sizes are allocated to the correct location on site. Additionally, each delivery to site is accompanied by full QA documentation.

The 1,000 acre Finley Solar Farm was developed by ESCO Pacific through to financial close, now wholly owned by John Laing, a leading investor in renewable energy projects in Australia. The farm features an approximate 500,000 modules that produce enough electricity to power 59,000 NSW homes and remove 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from the environment annually.

The Finley Solar Farm has been a tremendously smooth and thorough project to work on. We thank the entire team at Signal Energy for their stellar effort throughout our portion of the project and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to have provided the foundations for such an extraordinary renewable energy source.

Source: Solar Pile International

 

Solar start energises Darling Downs economy

18 April

Construction of the $125 million UQ Warwick Solar Farm is under way, bringing an injection of economic activity to the town and the Darling Downs region.

The project was officially launched on site today (Thursday 18 April) by Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) Mayor Tracy Dobie and University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj.

Professor Høj said the event marked a significant milestone for UQ, which will become the world’s first major university to offset 100 per cent of its electricity use from its own renewable energy asset.

“At UQ, we are unashamedly committed to being a leader in sustainability and the renewable energy sector,” Professor Høj said.

“We are proud to become a part of the Southern Downs community through this project, and to help generate regional jobs in our home state.

“This will become a centrepiece of our education and research into renewables, and the Southern Downs region can expect regular visitors from UQ and further afield over the 25-year life of the solar farm.”

More than 45 workers are already on site, with the number expected to exceed 160 at the peak of construction.

Local suppliers involved in the early stages of the project have provided services ranging from quarry material and cement to office supplies and accommodation.

The UQ Warwick Solar Farm is scheduled to be completed late this year, and will employ about half a dozen staff – including a UQ facility manager – on an on-going basis.

Cr Dobie said she was thrilled to see Lendlease, UQ’s lead construction contractor, working on the site.

“UQ’s investment gives this renewables project the extra dimensions of education and research – setting it apart from other solar farms being developed in regional Queensland.

“A memorandum of understanding includes plans for electric car charging stations by the end of the year and a visitor information centre offering guided tours of the project, and this will help put the Southern Downs on the map as a future-focused region.”

Professor Høj said UQ used a large amount of energy to power laboratories, lecture theatres, libraries and other facilities for its 52,000 students and thousands of staff.

“Our solar farm will generate 160,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy each year, displacing carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to taking almost 50,000 cars off the road.

“This is what UQ’s mission ‘Leadership for a better world’ is all about.”

Early site works began in February with site offices completed, along with some earthworks, fencing and vegetation planting.

Installation of support structures is under way, with work to fit panels expected to begin around mid-year.

The 64 megawatt solar farm is expected to be generating power by early 2020.

Source: University of Queensland